Bon Iver finds dark heart in latest album release

A BAND has found its dark, industrial heart - and what a treat that is for listeners.

Bon Iver's latest release, 22, A Million, is a marked departure from the searing, more organic ballads listeners have been treated to on past records. The first track of this 2016 release, 22 (Over Soon), sets the industrial tone for the first half of the album.

There's a robotic-like voice underlying the familiar, soaring melodies of lead singer Justin Vernon. The third track, 715 - CREEKS, turns the vocoder up to maximum and strips back instrumentation to let the industrial nature of the album shine. Surprisingly, the song is still full of emotion and a strange kind of sadness permeates.

Track five, 29 #Strafford APTS, is a more familiar Bon Iver sound, with twinkling guitar and a return to Vernon's "natural” voice - and the ache in it he has not shaken in three records. Track six shares instrumental similarities with Perth, the lead track off 2011 album Bon Iver, Bon Iver.

The band broke into the indie music scene in 2008 with For Emma, Forever Ago and followed up with EP Blood Bank in 2009, which topped the UK indie chart that year and climbed to 16 on the US Billboard 200 chart.

Those albums explored themes of love, loss, lies and regret with an organic, guitar-driven instrumentation that had young adults worldwide crying into their pillows upon listening (me included). As they marked up runs on the board in indie circles, the band took a small hiatus before the 2011 release of Bon Iver, Bon Iver.

Bon Iver has slid into the dark side with this latest release, but what a wonderful, emotional ride. This latest album, 22, A Million, is out now.



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